People like to talk about the world becoming a smaller place in this age of cyberspace and budget flights. To an extent they are right, in as much as it is easier to interact with other parts of the world than it was 100 years ago. However, from the days of the earliest explorers, we have been both influencing and being influenced by other cultures.
Nowhere is this more evident than in the way people spend their leisure time. Football has become a global sport, while Manga has captured the imagination among comic book readers. But how about the games we play? Here, we take a look at how Asian influence in this area cornered the gaming market in three distinct areas.
The game that defined a decade, Tamagotchi was in equal parts revered and reviled. The virtual pets were released in Japan in November 1996 and spread to the rest of the world over the course of 1997. By 2010, when the craze finally started to die down, well over 76 million had been sold. The charm of virtual pets on keychains evaporated with the advent of the smartphone age, but for a decade, Tamagotchi held teenagers across the world in thrall. They also spawned a dozen or more video games, three movies, comic stories and even music.
Until three or four years ago, fish hunter games were practically unheard of in the west, but in Hong Kong, China and other Asian countries, they have an enormous following. The concept is simple enough – put a coin in the slot, catch a big fish, win a big prize. In the past, the games have been linked to underground gambling, giving them a similar mystique to poker games in prohibition times. These days, though, gamers in Asia or the west can learn casino game rules in a choice of languages and try a fish shooting game online ???????????????? There’s a wide selection of both games and gaming platforms. Whether online or in a real gaming arcade, fish hunter games are also notable for their popularity with older gamers. Given the profile of most Las Vegas tourists, it is surely a matter of time before they become a common sight on the strip!
Video games and virtual pets are fine, but humankind has been playing games since long before the Pac Man era. Sophocles claimed that dice were invented by the Greeks in around 1250 BC, but archaeological evidence suggests they have been around much, much longer than that. The upshot is that different dice games have emerged in different parts of the world over thousands of years. Yet it is in the modern digital era that the Chinese game sic bo has really caught on in the western world.
Cards, roulette and dice are three staples of the casino, but for the latter, the craps table can look daunting with its complex table and convoluted rules. Sic bo is a far simpler game to understand, and Las Vegas gamers have taken to it like ducks to water in recent years.